I’ve been running an experiment on the effects of more frequent postings. The experiment was a tactical success and a strategic failure. Burnout has happened so I’m going to drop the posting frequency back down and work on longer pieces.
In this latest edition of Seth Sundays, Seth takes aim at “good enough” with a recent post but mostly he made me hungry with his ramen soup analogy for marketing. Citizen Intelligence will eventually franchise out into a national operation that provides infrastructure and local operations that will intimately cover their markets. For the local operations, good enough is going to be a distinct improvement on the status quo. It’s something like being in a rural area with very limited retailing and Walmart drops a regional store into the mix. You can (and many have) made the argument that Walmart is not remarkable, not exciting, is sort of a lowest common denominator of stores. But when every other choice is worse, they end up looking pretty good.
Ace hardware is remarkable in its back office operations allowing local hardware stores to survive. If a particular one is locally operated in a remarkable way, that’s something special. But even for the unimaginative local operator, Ace changes something even if the local is the equivalent of an expired pack of Maruchen.
Eventually citizen intelligence will go international and thus multi-lingual. If you know that your project is on that sort of a pathway, it’s quite easy to add one line into your base line specification and create your artifacts so that they are easy internationalize. There is no real extra work involved, just a small mental adjustment to always take internationalization into account and to separate out strings so that you don’t end up having to hunt them down in your code.
We got a nice find off the Bureau of Land Management which has a system called LR2000 to give a public interface for its land management records. It’s very much a work in progress and seems ripe for a mash up with private records like Google Earth and OpenStreetMap though Google Earth’s pro product might already have the database. Something to explore going forward.
Governments work in the real world which means that once Citizen Intelligence picks all the low hanging fruit of already published government data streams, it’s going to have to go out into the real world to both generate new data and confirm the truth of data already published. The new GPS III system should be just about deployed by then. The first two satellites were deployed in 2013. For Citizen Intelligence purposes, 1 yard accuracy is perfectly fine for the purposes needed and the increased power the GPS III will increase the utility of the signal in urban areas.
Seth Godin talks about the general case of social media whales. That post really resonated because old school politics is very much like that with broad appeals and uncaring strategies. Citizen Intelligence, by taking advantage of the first amendment right to petition for a redress of grievances, accelerates the existing trend to move away from that to a politics that is much more sophisticated than that, one that is more geared towards customization and which leaves more room for true individual interaction.
Any high level political operation needs to deal with an awful lot of people. That’s in the nature of the beast. They don’t have to be one way interactions.
It’s been 13 days since the last blown deadline on the 26th of February. The business is moving forward faster this week then it’s done for quite some time but the daily blog part of executing the plan dropped. That’s unacceptable. Building out and maintaining a buffer needs to happen and so far it’s not. My writer’s block seems to have a very strange relationship with my blog buffer size.
Another episode of Seth Sunday, this time observing the fight for great. As companies grow larger there’s a tendency to revert to mean, to tend towards average and mediocre. It’s a worry for Citizen Intelligence just like any other startup tackling a big task and there are few bigger tasks than an oversight system for the entire US government sector.
What is available to Citizen Intelligence is a peculiarity of the work. Reports can emerge from locals on sight observing a problem or they can emerge from broader perspective analysts and merely be implemented locally. In either case the reports will largely be replicable across jurisdictions.
If you’re checking that the water sources on paper match the water sources actually used, that’s going to be a usable report across all public water systems. Actually implementing the report by jurisdiction can yield excellent results even when the locals doing implementation at a particular jurisdiction are average workers.
Mind mapping is a neat way to organize what you’re trying to do. I’m partial to FreeMind but there are a large number of competitors with fancier features. It’s useful just about everywhere and that includes in the software development process. Today I’m refining a first draft of a mind map for Citizen Intelligence’s minimum viable product.
Citizen Intelligence is no longer a solo startup. Plenty of details to still work out (including how much I can blog about the new team member) but it’s a big deal and I’m quite pleased.